In the recent times, many institutions and finance giants have taken a leap into the crypto world. Many Swiss people have quit their traditional finance sector and have shown interest in cryptocurrency business, especially the Swiss bankers.
Since the inception of the idea of cryptocurrency, Switzerland has shown particularly shown interest in this field and has made a lot of progress. In fact, unlike most countries, Switzerland has become a heaven for cryptocurrency and is favoring the use of blockchain for projects. In other countries, politicians tend to express their opinions on cryptocurrency, its craze, security problems, volatility and regulation e.t.c. but this is not the case with Switzerland. It straight up supports the use of digital assets. In Zug, the city of Switzerland, cryptocurrencies and related-crypto technology have become one of the hottest areas of investment and entrepreneurial activity over the last few years, with billions invested in the sector. This place is also home to the “Crypto Valley.”
This year, in the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Buenos Aires, Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer underlined Switzerland’s position on cryptocurrencies. He attached particular importance to digitization. In the financial sector, in particular, it is important to create the framework necessary for innovation. At the same time, high standards should be established for the integrity of the markets.
Apart from the finance giants in Switzerland backing cryptocurrency, there have been incidents where people working in the Swiss banks, quit their jobs to enter the crypto space. At least eleven people from Credit Suisse alone have moved from the traditional Swiss banking to the crypto world. The latest one to move, according to the reports, is Andrew Peel. Peel left Credit Suisse’s office in Zurich to become the head of digital asset markets in Morgan Stanley, and he’s not the only one. The other highlighted exits include Simon Tobler. Tobler was a FX options trader at Credit Suisse, who left the bank after 11 years to become the head of trading for Crypto Finance AG, which is Swiss company that is working on implementing blockchain technology. Joining these two, were a lot of other highlighter employees of Credit Suisse which include software developers, salesmen, and heads of digital private banking e.t.c.
The question that arises is that what is it that pulls the people from the finance sector to the crypto space? According to those who left crypto is seen as offering opportunities to people who want to work entrepreneurially and that the community of CS crypto alumni are still in touch:
We found different ways to enter the crypto business but still keep close and exchange thoughts.
The positive side of people moving from the finance backgrounds to the crypto business is that they have the knowledge and they speak the same languages as the large banks and hence it is easy to communicate with them. Apart from that, their experience in the finance sector helps them to communicate with Finma (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority).
Crypto finance group, also has its seeds in Zug, Switzerland. Most of its manpower is working in a luxury villa in Zurich dubbed “Crypto Villa.” The atmosphere there is most like a Swiss bank. The CEO, Jan Brzezek himself sets and example of a Business Manager for the president of UBS asset management, who turned to the crypto world and founded crypto finance group. He said:
We [almost] all have a background in finance. Basically what we did is what is standard in the traditional market like equities or FX, with older management systems.
He seemed happy with the fact that the man power he had, was in some point of time linked to the Swiss traditional finance system, he added:
Our strength lies in the fact that we have tech guys as well as guys who come from the Swiss financial industry. That’s why we can speak with all the large banks and Finma, because we speak the same language.
Another question that arises is that what factors attract cryptocurrencies to Switzerland at this extent. Explaining this, Marc Walpoth, a Swiss jurist who formerly worked at the Intensive Supervision of Banks division at Finma, said that the main reason of this was the judicial stability, as they do not interfere with the financial matters of banks and crypto currencies.
Finma, the Swiss financial market supervisory authority, is very stable with regard to regulations and is rather flexible.
Regarding the independency of Swiss banks from the government, he said:
Finma was created six years ago, it rewrote, and created new laws, however, Swiss banks are completely independent of the government. They decide the activities they wish to undertake, in coherence with the financial regulator. Which is different in many countries.
Further explaining the dissolution of the finance sector into the crypto world, he said:
Switzerland is a country were regulators are very flexible and exchange a lot of dialogs with the companies. That’s why we have a lot of entrepreneurs, generally inclined to take risks, because the political and judicial framework is quite flexible. This is deeply rooted in the Swiss culture.
Jan Brzezek also had his say relating to why the people decide that moving to cryptocurrency is a better idea, “I felt like Alice in Wonderland falling into the rabbit hole when I started to understand Bitcoin,” Brzezek said, “now it’s up to you, if you wish to stay in the traditional world, you are free to believe things will all stay as it is. Magic doesn’t happen when you stay in your comfort zone,” he said. Many bankers chose to adapt to where the money is. “[Banks] put their feet in the water, and they get a bit of experience, then as soon as they understand how it works, they go in, because there’s a lot of money, interests, and clients there.”
Although the acceptance rate of crypto assets around the world is pretty low at the moment, but Switzerland seems to understand the underlying potential in the market and is blooming to become a Crypto Nation rather than Crypto Valley. It is also hoped that other countries opt the cryptoculture and blockchain, as the possibilities and potential shown by this market over the years is through the roof.